Thanks to this diversity, the Blue Yeti Pro makes for a perfect all-purpose microphone for varied studio work. You can use the cardoid pattern to record vocals and individual instruments, then set it up in omni-directional or stereo mode to fill out the sound stage as the whole band plays. Or you can flip it to bi-directional and have an instant high quality setup for interviews or recording podcasts with multiple people.
Joining the stand mount on the bottom of the mic are sockets for the miniUSB connection that powers the mic and sends its signal to your computer, a 3.5mm headphone jack for real time monitoring (and high quality output from your computer as well) and the XLR output. The latter is accompanied by a Y-cable that is used to either split the signal for when used in stereo mode, or you just use one of the channels when using any of the other mono modes.
When using the XLR output, none of the other features of the mic work – it's just a passive microphone – so it needs proper amplification, and monitoring should be done via your other equipment. Neither can you use both the USB output and the XLR output simultaneously. It's also worth noting the Blue Yeti Pro doesn't work properly on USB 3.0 ports, and nor can it work with the iPad as it draws too much power.
Setup of the Blue Yeti Pro isn't as simple as for the Samson Meteor Mic, at least on Windows machines, as you must download (yes, you must download it as there's no copy in the box) a driver from the Blue Microphones website and install it before plugging the mic in. Thankfully, unlike some similar products we've reviewed in the past, plugging in the mic before installing the driver doesn't cause Windows to subsequently fail to install the device properly. Macs apparently get the privilege of having the device install without extra drivers but it failed to install on our test machine (MacOSX Lion) and we couldn't find a driver on Blue's website.
There's a reason why this mic requires more than just a bog standard USB audio input driver on Windows and it's because the driver software allows you to adjust parameters of the mic. You can change the buffer settings (choosing from 1 - 32 milliseconds) as well as ASIO buffer settings (17.6 - 64milliseconds), update the firmware and adjust volume levels for the input and output channels. There's also a program called TUSBAudio Spy Tool, which gives you access to really low level USB interface stuff – frankly, we don't know what you'd use it for beyond reprogramming the thing and probably breaking it.
Accessing the standard Windows audio device controls allows you to adjust the sampling rate, recording level and other standard Windows audio device settings. We're lead to believe you get similar options through the MacOS interface when it work.
Once installed, the Blue Yeti Pro is a breeze to use and moreover it's performance is excellent. As with the Samson, we tested using a range of acoustic and electronic instruments including guitar and piano as well as vocal work in a range of styles, and the results seriously impressed.
The level of sonic detail available is incredibe while the range is vast, with the lowest rumblings and highest highs reproduced fully and accurately. Frankly, for the SOHO applications this mic is intended for, it's almost overkill. In particular, once you start cranking up the sampling, you end up with seriously large file sizes with arguably modest gains in performance. That said, it's great to have the option there, especially as it's beneficial to have as wide a sampling rate as possible to start with, before then compressing your music.
If you're really looking for perfection in audio, then a standalone mic of the same price will deliver slightly better performance when accompanied by a quality ADC and other recording equipment. But that's to be expected considering the extras you're getting with this product.
The Blue Yeti Pro is definitely a bit pricey for hobbyists, but if you're seriously into your home recording, or your small media business is looking to get the best audio for its recordings, then it's a great purchase. It's combination of easy plug and play USB connectivity, high bitrate sampling and multiple pickup patterns makes for a diverse and high quality product suitable for many different recording situations.